Matthew Neale

matthew nealeMatthew read Natural Sciences at Cambridge and specialized for his doctorate there in the evolution of social behaviour, including a case study on tropical spiders. Experiences during solitude in the rainforest led him to explore Buddhist meditation as a way to develop them, and Dawkins’ ideas (developed by Susan Blackmore et al) about the evolution of memes, virus-like entities propagating themselves using human minds as vehicles, led him naturally to explore in more depth Buddhist methods of mental purification.

Living in Egypt and Nepal for over a decade, he studied Islamic esotericism and Tibetan Buddhism: he followed the traditional programme of Mahayana philosophy at the Rangjung Yeshe Institute of Kanying Shedrubling Monastery near Kathmandu, and Vajrayana practices as a student of Thinley Norbu Rinpoche and Trulshik Rinpoche.

At Oxford he is currently researching a book on the use of deconstructive argumentation in the Madhyamaka school of Buddhism and in the Pyrrhonist school of Ancient Greek philosophy, and the historical connections between them.  He is more generally interested in any anti-dogmatic practices in religious and philosophical traditions, as potential remedies for the factionalism, sectarianism and systematic cruelty which, he feels, infect so much of our world.